Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is a relatively new technology, and some enterprises have been quick to implement it to solve a variety of network challenges. As with any infrastructure solution, it’s becoming clear that while SD-WAN provides a lot of benefits, it may not be a universal solution for every situation.
The benefits of deploying SD-WAN include:
- Reduced costs
- The ability to distinguish between critical data and non-critical data for prioritizing internet traffic
- Increased visibility
- Faster implementation at a new branch location
- Better performance and agility
Multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) has been a preferred technology for networks and is the latest way of executing WANs, which have been used by enterprises for decades. MPLS directs data from one network node to the next, using short distances for connections rather than longer addresses for networks. MPLS offers faster connection speeds than its predecessors.
The availability of cheap broadband is causing many network specialists to consider whether it makes sense to keep investing in dedicated networks with leased lines. In the complex world of cloud technology, the answer is: it depends.
SD-WAN provides a fast, inexpensive connection for enterprises moving vast amounts of data to and from the cloud. There are, however, situations where MPLS continues to be a preferable choice. In cases where traffic is more sensitive or requires more regulation, for instance, MPLS may still offer a better alternative to SD-WAN.
In fact, enterprises don’t seem to be in any hurry to completely eliminate MPLS. A recent report by SDxCentral indicates that SD-WAN currently has a 200 percent growth rate, but that’s not necessarily interpreted as a choice of SD-WAN over MPLS. Many enterprises are retaining their MPLS networks.
What’s needed now is for enterprises to be able to view their various SD-WAN and MPLS network solutions through a single management application. From both optimization and security perspectives, a single dashboard for all network activity is ideal.
Partners have an opportunity to offer flexible solutions for their customers looking for network options. Rather than offering a one-size-fits-all SD-WAN approach, it is beneficial to consider whether a hybrid solution may be best for a particular enterprise’s network requirements.
At eXemplify, we help our partners help their customers build networks that are future-ready. Contact us to talk about the various considerations when helping your customers choose the right network solution.